As far as I can tell, Mike Glennon left an NFL Draft gathering the Bears asked him to attend last Thursday and went straight to a pity party in his honor where apparently the whole city is invited.
Forgive me for not sending an RSVP.
The Bears moving up to draft North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky second overall stunned the football world and, it seems, nobody more than Glennon, the free agent the Bears signed in March to a 3-year, $45 million contract. Reports indicate Glennon felt a sense of betrayal based on general manager Ryan Pace making him feel he was their guy for 2017.
BREAKING: Glennon still is.
The big redhead arrived in town with an easy smile and engaging personality, posed for pictures, met new teammates, sang at Wrigley Field and embraced everything that came with the opportunity to start for the Bears. There was nothing false about Glennon’s enthusiasm or disingenuous about the Bears’ clear intentions that they viewed Glennon as their starter for next season.
Nor should there have been any illusions about what the structure of Glennon’s deal – a $16 million guarantee for next season with a modest $2.5 million buyout – suggested about the Bears’ long-term plans at the position.
If anybody failing to understand NFL reality still needs an interpretation, the Bears basically were telling Glennon to rent instead of buy. The Glennon situation always looked like a 1-year commitment, at most, by the Bears. So this is the only assurance that the Bears needed to give Glennon beyond what his contract says: The checks will clear.
The Bears provided generational wealth for a mediocre 27-year-old quarterback with 18 NFL starts. Glennon should be laughing at his good fortune instead of moping about Mitch.
“Blindsiding their own QB,’’ the Tribune headline screamed Monday. Sorry, but if Glennon couldn’t have seen something like this coming, the quarterback has no chance of reading the blitz on third-and-long.
Everybody knew that Pace had to draft a quarterback with one of his first two picks, even after Glennon signed. And everybody knew that whatever rookie Pace drafted would be groomed as the Bears’ quarterback of the future.
Since signing in March, after all, Glennon has been referred to as a bridge in Chicago often enough to have the city schedule an inspection. If Glennon expected to be the unchallenged starter on a team in transition that has won nine games in 2 years, he was the only one.
A quarterback who has proven so little as an NFL quarterback joining a rebuilding project should realize competition eventually will be part of the deal – and relish that challenge, not resist it. If Glennon is good enough to be beyond reproach, as his sensitivity suggests he believes, he will take advantage of this opportunity and play well enough to give the Bears the great problem of having two quarterback assets.
It’s nice to think Glennon chose the Bears because they represented the clearest path to the field, but that’s football romanticism. He picked the Bears because they offered significantly more money than any other team and, frankly, nothing else Pace said during negotiations mattered as much as the guaranteed dollar amount.
If Pace intentionally misled Glennon and actually stated the Bears wouldn’t draft a quarterback in the first round – which I have a hard time envisioning a general manager in Pace’s position doing – shame on him. But shame on Glennon, a veteran of four NFL seasons, for believing anything that comes out of the mouth of an NFL executive about free agency except financial terms.
Maybe Pace shouldn’t have implied whatever he allegedly implied, but Glennon never should have been naive enough to believe it. The Bears complicated Glennon’s status. They didn’t demote or cut him.
The Bears just spent 8 years being criticized for considering quarterback Jay Cutler too often when adding players and coaches. Now, Pace makes a major move without factoring in feelings and suddenly people want to remind us the NFL is a relationship business.
The NFL is, but winning trumps everything in professional sports.
Had Cubs president Theo Epstein done what Pace did in the name of creating competition at the most important position in sports, Chicagoans would call Epstein a cutthroat genius. Pace, still unproven and unpolished, lacks the benefit of the doubt so he gets cast in this silly melodrama as the lying villain.
And so what if the Bears took Trubisky when Glennon was at Soldier Field as their guest at a team-sponsored draft party? If coach John Fox reportedly was caught off-guard by Pace drafting a quarterback so high, do you really think the GM was going to alert the team’s marketing department about the possibility?
Human nature allows Glennon to feel disappointment, and even shock, when the news broke, but perspective should have been restored with a quick walk around the perimeter of the stadium. If Glennon allows himself to stay bugged for too long, is this the guy you want in the huddle on the final possession down four with 2 minutes to go?
By the time players report to Bourbonnais in July, the Bears better hope the injury report no longer includes Glennon’s bruised ego.